Posted by: scootrah | November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving – the final tips!

Here are a few things you can do today and tomorrow to make it so you can actually ENJOY the holiday, cuz that’s what it’s about, right?

– Peel and cut your potatoes for mashed potatoes – place them in cold water (to prevent browning) and refrigerate.

– Peel and chop any vegetables for your side dishes, place in a sealable bag or container and refrigerate.

– Cook vegetables for your stuffing, place in a sealable bag or container and refrigerate.

– Bake your pies, cool and cover with plastic wrap.

– Set the table…really. 

– Refrigerate wines and sparkling ciders that need chilling.

A few day-of-prep hints:

– Write out a schedule for the day and tape it to the fridge. You can cross things out when you’re done, and if you have kitchen volunteers, they can check the list for tasks if you’re too busy to assign something.

– Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature one hour before roasting.

– If parts of your turkey skin are browning too quickly, cover them with aluminum foil.

– Start testing for doneness on your bird 30 minutes before you think it should be done. If the breast is at 165 degrees, pull it out and tent with aluminum foil and let stand 30 minutes. The heat inside the bird will help with carry-over cooking, resulting in a well-roasted, moist turkey. – Once the bird is out of the oven and tented, let it rest 30 minutes to one hour before carving. You’ll need the oven time to finish baking and reheating side dishes, and the resting time will let the juices set. Don’t worry, it will still be warm!

– Keep a small saucepan of chicken or turkey stock at a low simmer on the back of the stove. It will come in handy for the gravy, to moisten stuffing, thin mashed potatoes and moisten glazed carrots or other vegetables.

– If you stuff your turkey, try wrapping it in a large piece of cheesecloth and insert in the bird. This will be an immense help in getting all of the hot stuffing out and letting the bird cool.

– Lump-free gravy: remember that hot roux gets mixed with hot stock and cold roux with cold stock. If you use packaged gravy mix (it’s OK, really!) and stock from the roasted bird, whisk a little cold water into the mix to form a paste, then whisk in the hot stock – you’ll get a better, tastier result with no lumps. And since everyone loves gravy, make twice as much as you think you’ll need and you’ll have plenty for leftovers.

– If your coffee maker has a thermal carafe, turn the brewer on when you sit down to dinner. The coffee will stay plenty hot by pie time, and your guests can help themselves while you slice the pie.

– To prevent runny whipped cream, treat it more like an emulsion. Pour about half of your cream into the mixer and whip for a couple minutes, then slowly add the rest and whip until peaks are formed. And add your sugar and/or flavoring while it’s still liquid! It really doesn’t incorporate very well if you wait until the end of whipping.

I’m grateful for all of you who are following my blog, and hope you have a wonderful day, no matter how you spend it!

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